Blue-chip block awaits glittering future

By Colin Taylor

The 2.4357ha parcel of land flanks the Gulf Harbour Country Club and Golf Course. Photo / Supplied
The 2.4357ha parcel of land flanks the Gulf Harbour Country Club and Golf Course. Photo / Supplied

The dream of a 200-bed, five-star resort hotel and residential development flanking the Gulf Harbour Country Club and Golf Course on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula north of Auckland has ended with a pending mortgagee sale.

This presents an opportunity for a new investor to acquire the premium piece of land and run with the original vision or create a new one.

The 2.4357ha parcel of land known as the Matapia Block was owned by Mark Bryers, co-founder of the Blue Chip property group. When Blue Chip collapsed last year owing investors at least $80 million, the bubble burst on the planned hotel development and the land is now back on the market.

Bayleys is handling the sale of the strategic landholding on instructions from receiver Deloitte, which is acting on behalf of the mortgagee FP Holdings Limited (In Receivership), with tenders closing on September 17.

Michael Pleciak and Ben Bayley of Bayleys Auckland, along with Bruce Truscott of Bayleys Orewa, are marketing the grassed vacant site which has dual road frontages to Gulf Harbour Drive and Pinecrest Drive.

The freehold site is in two titles and is on the eastern side of Pinecrest Drive at the intersection of Gulf Harbour Drive and approximately 300m south of the town centre.

"The site is essentially semi-circular, following the curve of Pinecrest Drive on the western boundary," says Pleciak.

"It has a gentle contour with a very gradual slope towards the golf course from west to east. Views are of the back nine of the Gulf Harbour Golf Course and the driving range, while the northern portion of the land looks out to the surrounding residential development."

Pleciak says approved Comprehensive Development Plans and Resource Consent were granted to Bryers in 2007, subject to conditions being met, and he intended building a resort hotel with 200 guest rooms, conference facilities, a restaurant and cafe/bar along with 45 residential villas of varying sizes.

Detailed architectural and schematic plans were drawn up by Warren and Mahoney, and Pleciak says these are available for perusal.

"To be honest, this was a grand plan on a luxury scale and given the current economic climate, perhaps quite ambitious," says Pleciak.

"However, the land has an inherent long-term value given the residential growth in the Whangaparaoa area in recent years, and with consent already in place for 45 residential villas, perhaps the way forward is to build these over the whole site, allowing each one of the villas more land than was originally proposed."

Another option that could be explored by investors is that of retirement living, with Gulf Harbour offering the attractions of a temperate climate, proximity to Auckland and a well-developed infrastructure.

"Complemented by the easy contour of the site and the neighbouring golf course and country club, the land could be ideal for a retirement project," Pleciak says.

"As a location, this piece of land has a lot going for it and an investor with vision and an eye on the future will recognise that and take advantage of the circumstances leading to its current sale."

Development planning for the site comes under the Rodney District Council's Proposed District Plan 2000, and the site falls within the Special 18 Gulf Harbour Zone, Marine Village Residential Policy Area, Precinct 2 - Country Club Village.

The Gulf Harbour Marina is one of the largest in Australasia, with around 1000 existing berths for vessels up to 22m.

Further, the planned Hobbs' Wharf and associated waterfront development for the eastern side of the Marina is set to provide further facilities for residents and visitors.

- NZ Herald

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